- Associated Press - Thursday, June 9, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia Board of Education has voted to adopt an amendment to its accountability policy to give schools A through F grades.

The board said in a news release that it approved the revised policy at its monthly meeting Wednesday.

The grades will be based largely on students’ scores on the statewide Smarter Balanced standardized tests.

Christy Hovanetz, a representative from the Foundation for Excellence in Education Senior Policy, spoke positively about the grading system, saying it would make sure students are getting the best education possible. However, she also told the board that most statewide teacher unions do not support the grading system for schools.

Board member William White, who supported the amended system, acknowledged that people are uncomfortable with the change, but said that the board would keep its eyes open to ensure the policy doesn’t backfire.

Board President Mike Green argued that the new grading system is not punitive and is meant to give attention to low-performing schools in an effort to improve them.

“The goal of our accountability system is to communicate student achievement progress to education stakeholders and serve as a platform for school improvement,” he said.

The amended policy will take effect on July 11.

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